Tranmere’s league position does not warrant the abuse they’ve been getting from some fans, says manager Ronnie Moore ahead of trip to Stevenage
MANAGER Ronnie Moore will be telling his Tranmere players to take note of the League One table and ignore the background noise from a few Prenton Park boo boys when they hit the road to Stevenage this afternoon.
The table shows Rovers leading the division by two points after taking 38 points from their first 19 games – remarkable progress for a club getting by on a fraction of the resources available to the division’s big financial hitters.
Certainly no justification, Moore argues, for a section of home supporters to turn on their own team at the end of the goalless draw with Walsall on Tuesday that left Tranmere with just a point to show from back-to-back home games.
“The position we have got ourselves into is fantastic,” Moore declared. “We’re averaging two points am game and that his promotion form. It does not warrant people moaning and booing, as happened the other night.
“It was a disappointment that we only took one point from the two home games when the target was probably four points. We had a little wobble and if you look around the other top teams in the division, nearly everyone is having a wobble. Those who were below the top seven have been winning games, closing the gap so it is getting tighter and tighter at the top.”
Moore added: “We are a small squad, we’ve had a few injuries and some of the players have been running on empty. It is difficult.
“The players could do with a break from playing two games a week. For the next three weeks we just have Saturday games, which will help us with the injury situation.”
Stevenage, who were on Tranmere’s coattails through most of the early months, hit their own dip in form over recent weeks, suffering three defeats in four games before a 1-1 draw at Bournemouth in midweek steadied the ship.
The Hertfordshire side may not have the financial clout of Sheffield United or MK Dons but they have pedigree after making the play-offs last season.
Moore rates Gary Smith’s side as one of the most physically powerful in the division. He said: “If you look at our next three away games they are against Stevenage, Sheffield United and Swindon, teams pushing towards the top of the table.
“These are games on the big stage. I said to the lads, when they were feeling a bit low after the Walsall game, that if they can’t look forward to being involved in these type of games they might as well go and get a job at Asda.
“Big games, big crowds, big atmospheres, so let’s go out and show people why we are top of the league.”
Tranmere have no cause to travel with trepidation these days after taking 20 points – six wins and two draws – from the first nine away games of the season. That’s more away points than they took in the whole of the 2011/12 campaign.
Moore acknowledges that for one individual at least, attacking midfielder Adam McGurk, playing on the road might come as something of a relief.
The manager remains unhappy about the ironic cheers from some Prenton Park supporters that greeted McGurk’s substitution during the second half on Tuesday.
“Sometimes it might be a little bit of a breather for one or two of the players to go away from home, and that probably applies to Adam McGurk,” Moore said.
“The home crowd certainly made it plain the other day that they don’t fancy him. It is harsh when they single out one player. Adam does try, does have ability and does do well.
“He is a confidence type player. The sort of thing that went on the other night, to cheer when he is taken off, I don’t think is right. You want the supporters to keep the faith and get behind the players.”
McGurk, 23, is striving to establish himself as a first-team regular and scored the winner in Tranmere’s 1-0 success at Oldham a fortnight ago.
Moore added: “Every player has a different character. Some can take a size nine up the backside. Some want love and tenderness all the time. Adam is one you have to look after, pamper him if you like.
“You should not have to do it but it is human nature. To be fair, Adam’s best games for us have been away from home, where he has been terrific. He has great ability. It’s just that sometimes he can be frustrating for me, never mind the crowd. But you don’t discourage him. It is disappointing so many people did because that does not help anyone.”
Tranmere will be without the suspended Ash Taylor this afternoon so Ian Goodison, who celebrated his 40th birthday this week, is favourite to start a league game for the first time this season at the heart of the defence.
The Rovers squad should include the two new loan players signed on Thursday: striker Michael O’Halloran from Bolton and Donervorn Daniels from West Brom. Glaswegian O’Halloran can expect to be challenging Cole Stockton for a place along side Jake Cassidy in attack. He’s has had first team experience in loan spells with Sheffield United and Carlisle over the past year.
Daniels, 18, is yet to play senior football although he has impressed at under 21 level for Albion.